SANCCOB saves oil affected seabirds in Cape Town
Number of oil affected seabirds climb to 158
Since the major oil slick on the Table View beach front caused by the SELI 1 on Saturday, 1 September 2012, SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) have been admitting an ever increasing number of oil-affected penguins to their rehabilitation centre in Table View, Cape Town.
SANCCOB is a leading marine-orientated non-profit organization which has treated more than 90 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned African penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968. SANCCOB has been part of the joint response operations for each incident for this vessel.
Oiled penguin waiting to be washed ©SANCCOB
SANCCOB, a WAZA branded project, is a leading marine-orientated non-profit organization which has treated more than 90 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned African penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968. SANCCOB has been part of the joint response operations for each incident for this vessel.
Dr. Richard Sherley (from the Animal Demography Unit UCT) has been leading an Earthwatch team on Robben Island with the assistance of Mario Leshoro (Robben Island Museum), Duncan Bolton (Birdworld Farnham Surrey) and two researchers from the ADU. The team has been working tirelessly for the past 6 days to identify, collect and transport oiled African penguins and their chicks via a ferry to the Cape Town harbour where SANCCOB's response team has been collecting the birds from.
The total number of affected birds includes 136 oiled, endangered African penguins, 21 African penguin chicks who were admitted due to their parents being oiled, and 1 oiled Cape Gannet. The oil slick was drifting in Table Bay, which is one of the main feeding grounds for seabirds from Robben Island and the West Coast National Park.
Oilies first swim ©SANCCOB
SANCCOB CEO, Venessa Strauss, said, "The first couple of days are usually very stressful for the birds but they have all been responding quite well to the first stage of the rehabilitation process. To date, 60 penguins have been washed at the centre and will be in the care of SANCCOB's experienced staff and volunteers for the next 2-3 weeks before deemed fit for release back into the wild. Before the birds are released we will make sure that there is not threat of them becoming oiled again from this vessel. Aerial surveillance flights from the Department of Environmental Affairs have not been able to shed light on the location of the oil slick as yet."
A number of affected birds are still believed to be on the island. SANCCOB is sending out a team on 8 September 2012 lead by Dr. Nola Parsons (SANCCOB's Veterinarian and Researcher) to assist the current Earthwatch team. The focus will be especially on sweeping the island's nesting areas for oiled birds and identifying chicks that may be abandoned as a result of their parents being oiled. Currently, SANCCOB has the situation fully under control and there is currently no need for additional volunteers. We do, however, ask the public to help with the rehabilitation of these oiled African penguins, by kindly visiting http://www.sanccob.co.za/you-can-help.html to make a donation, adopt a penguin or become a member of our organization today.
For more information please contact : Francois Louw
SANCCOB Development and Marketing Coordinator